From Nonproliferation to Counterproliferation

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This online module, created using the open source tool Xerte, introduces students to the policy distinction between counterproliferation and nonproliferation. Introduced into US policy after the 9/11 attacks by the George W. Bush administration, counterproliferation eschewed multilateral diplomacy in favor of active and passive measures to prevent proliferation and attack. These materials were originally designed to accompany a  live zoom session with one of Highly NRiched’s mentors, Ms. Shirley Johnson, a retired International Atomic Energy Agency inspector, but they can be presented as a free standing resource.

Recommended readings:

– Weichselbraun, Anna. “From Accountants to Detectives: How Nuclear Safeguards Inspectors Make Knowledge at the International Atomic Energy Agency.” PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 43, no. 1 (May 2020): 120–35. https://doi.org/10.1111/plar.12346.

– Rebecca Johnson, “’Do as I say, Not as I do’ from Nonproliferation to Counterproliferation,” in Arms Control After Iraq, United Nations University, 2006, pp. 57-80.

– Brad Roberts, “Proliferation and Nonproliferation in the 1990s: Looking for the Right Lessons” The Nonproliferation Review (Fall 1999)

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Total activity time 30
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Learning Objectives
  • By the end of this lecture you will understand what 'counterproliferation' is and the nature of the threats it is designed to counter
  • You will be introduced to counterproliferation successes and failures: Libya in 2002 and the US-led coalition invasion of Iraq in 2003
  • You will learn about the origins of the additional protocol and 'state-level approach' to inspections, and connect these shifts in nuclear safeguards practices to the larger shift from nonproliferation to counterproliferation

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